- Sven Hansell
- , revised by Kay Lipton
(b Venice, c1730; d Venice, after 1794). Italian singer, teacher, and composer. DeMezzo specialized in serious operatic roles and sang sacred music. Although described as both a baritone and a tenor in contemporary writings, he was often classified as a tenor, singing roles that exploited his ability to execute coloratura passages. Some of his roles were also notated in tenor clef instead of bass clef. In Pampani’s Astianatte (Venice, 1755) he is labelled a baritone, but by the late 1750s and early 60s he is referred to as a tenor (in Traetta’s Ippolito ed Aricia in 1759, in Piccinni’s Tigrane and Christian Bach’s Artaserse in 1761, and in Guglielmi’s L’Olimpiade in 1763). Heartz described him as ‘a fine singer whose baritone had a tenor extension’. This vocal profile was not unusual. During the 1740s and 50s a new type of tenor emerged, one whose vocal and dramatic profile was expanded; very often high baritones became tenors, and with this came an ability to sing coloratura passages and sustain a higher tessitura. There were a number of male opera singers who sang both tenor and high baritone roles, as commonly required in comic operas during the second half of the 18th century. Other well known ...